It’s been a long and stressful transfer window as an Arsenal fan but time has finally run out. I don’t think anyone could have predicted how this summer window was going to turn out for the club but overall it’s been a massive success.
With that being said, the following takes a look at every major Arsenal signing and departure from this summer. Also, I’ll be giving my thoughts and rating out of ten for each respective signing.
1) Gabriel Martinelli | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £6m
Arsenal’s first signing of the summer came in the form of 18-year-old forward Gabriel Martinelli.
While a majority of fans including myself didn’t know much about the Ituano youngster prior to his signing, it’s been interesting to watch the forward perform during pre-season. What’s stood out to me so far is his movement both on and off the ball. There have been times where he’s naturally put himself in a goal-scoring position (see his goal vs Colorado Rapids and his volley vs Barcelona) or tried to create an opportunity for himself (see his run vs Fiorentina).
However, it’s worth mentioning he’s far from the finished product. Martinelli is still a very raw player and I think it’ll be ideal for his development if he plays a majority of his football for the under-23s, this season. Unsurprisingly, there are areas to his game that can be improved upon including his decision making and finishing.
Nonetheless, I can definitely see Martinelli feature in the first-team in some capacity this season. There’s plenty of game time to be had in the Europa League, FA Cup, and also EFL Cup. If the 18-year-old can continue to progress with the promise he’s shown thus far, he’ll earn the opportunities to impress and prove that Arsenal made the right decision to sign him.
Overall, when it comes to signing a young player with a lot of potential, I think it’s impossible to downplay the signing. If anything, I wish Arsenal completed this type of business more often and I’m excited to see how Gabriel Martinelli develops and performs over the next twelve months.
2) Dani Ceballos | My Rating: 7/10 | Reported Fee: £3m (loan fee)
Out of every signing Arsenal has made this summer, the capture of Dani Ceballos on a season-long loan is the deal that leaves me conflicted the most.
On one hand, the 23-year-old instantly improves this Arsenal side, especially in midfield. The departure of Aaron Ramsey to Juventus unsurprisingly left a big hole in midfield and while they’re not identical players, Ceballos should fill the void with ease. We’ve lacked a technical midfielder like him for quite some time and his qualities should be effective for this team. He carries the ball well, can create chances, and should be able to adequately fit into different midfield set-ups.
However, the biggest downside to his signing is the fact that it’s only a loan deal. While he is a stop-gap option that should play a big part in the club’s quest for Champions League qualification, I wish the deal had a purchase option included. Ceballos is the type of player that could reach “world-class” levels in future and it’s a shame he will most likely be here for just one season.
Taking into consideration the various rumours, I can understand why the club decided to complete the deal without such a clause. But, if Arsenal has a successful season, there’s always the possibility that Ceballos becomes convinced to stay at the club on a permanent basis. I’ll be hopeful, that’s for sure.
3) William Saliba | My Rating: 9/10 | Reported Fee: £28m
Taking into consideration what I said about Gabriel Martinelli, I’m happy Arsenal also completed the signing of 18-year-old defender William Saliba.
I’m not going to pretend that I know a lot about the young Frenchman because Arsenal’s initial interest was the first time I heard of him. However, after doing some research as well as talk to people that have watched Saliba over the past twelve months, I’m excited to see what the future holds for the young defender.
Although it’s annoying he’ll spend the 2019/20 season on loan with Saint-Etienne, it’s the best move for his development. He enjoyed a good run of form with the French side earlier in the year and I think chucking him in the deep end at Arsenal will do him more harm than good. It’s important to remember Saliba is still inexperienced and playing in the league he’s used to alongside someone experienced like Loic Perrin will benefit his development.
While £28 million is a lot of money for an 18-year-old, it goes to show how highly the club values the Frenchman.
It’s fair to say Saint-Etienne will have a lot of new supporters this season.
4) Nicolas Pepe | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £72m
I’m still not sure how this happened.
After weeks of being linked to the likes of Ryan Fraser, Wilfried Zaha, Everton Soares, and many others, Arsenal stunned the entire market after announcing the club-record signing of Nicolas Pepe. Although it’s not as big, his arrival takes me back to 2013’s summer transfer window where we announced the signing of Mesut Ozil. Pepe is a statement signing and it shows that Arsenal still means business.
Last season, the 24-year-old was playing the best football of his career at Lille where he helped them reach 2nd in the Ligue 1 table. In front of goal, he scored on 23 occasions and produced 12 assists in all competitions, registering 0.89 goal contributions per 90.
Given the weaknesses in the squad, it’s fair to say that Arsenal desperately needed to recruit a winger and I don’t think they could’ve made a better acquisition. Pepe is the type of player that will offer something completely different to Arsenal’s front line, especially out wide. He can create chances, draw fouls, take players on, and his movement is very good too.
I’m very excited to see how the 24-year-old links up with players like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Mesut Ozil, and Alexandre Lacazette.
5) Kieran Tierney | My Rating: 9/10 | Reported Fee: £25m
In a few years time, Kieran Tierney’s transfer to Arsenal could be looked at as the bargain of the 2019 summer transfer window. At a time where players are being sold for outrageous sums of money, signing the 22-year-old for just £25 million is a very smart and cheap bit of business.
Given the current options, left-back was one of the key areas in the team that Arsenal desperately needed to address. Unfortunately, Nacho Monreal has been on the decline for quite a few years now and I don’t think he’s good or consistent enough to play regularly for a top club. Meanwhile, Sead Kolasinac is not suited to play as a full-back and works better as a wing-back. In my opinion, his defending can be mediocre and he can be quite wasteful going forward too.
The signing of Kieran Tierney solves these problems. He’s better than both options defensively as well as going forward. His injury problems do concern me a bit but he should prove to be an excellent signing by Arsenal.
6) David Luiz | My Rating: 7/10 | Reported Fee: £8m
Taking into consideration the other business that Arsenal has completed, I’m more than happy with the signing of David Luiz.
Since crucial signings were prioritised in other areas, I’m not surprised the club failed to bring in a top defender, especially when you see players like Harry Maguire move clubs for £85 million. Given the club’s limited budget, it makes no sense spending a massive sum of money for a player that doesn’t improve us significantly. You could argue the likes of Dayot Upamecano and Daniele Rugani are risks and overspending on a player like Nathan Ake would be a waste.
While he’s not as good as he once was, Luiz is the type of player that automatically improves our defence. His ability on the ball will be perfect for the type of football Unai Emery wants to implement and, in my opinion, he’s a lot better overall than Shkodran Mustafi and Calum Chambers.
Assuming the financial reports are legitimate, I don’t think Arsenal could’ve completed a better deal. £8 million for a defender that’s from a rival and also improves the team is great business. Also, considering his age, a two-year contract is the right move by the club.
David Luiz is a smart signing by the club and I hope he can have an instant impact here.
1) David Ospina | My Rating: 7/10 | Reported Fee: £5m
David Ospina was Arsenal’s first major departure of the summer transfer window.
In my opinion, I think the club could’ve received a higher fee for the Colombian if it wasn’t for the purchase option that was included in his loan deal at Napoli. The 30-year-old is a good shot-stopper but this transfer wasn’t exactly surprising considering he was surplus to requirements at Arsenal. I’ll always miss his chant at Arsenal, it was amazing.
2) Xavier Amaechi | My Rating: 5/10 | Reported Fee: £2.5m
I’ll admit, Xavier Amaechi’s departure from the club is slightly annoying but at the same time, it’s the right move for him.
Unfortunately, you can’t give playing opportunities to every single youngster with potential. Amaechi is clearly talented but I don’t think he would have received many opportunities at Arsenal when considering the number of players that were already ahead of him.
Considering the type of clubs that were interested in signing him, I respect his decision to join Hamburg. It’s clear he wants to prove that he has the ability to become a top player and performing on a weekly basis in the 2. Bundesliga will hopefully be good for him.
3) Krystian Bielik | My Rating: 9/10 | Reported Fee: £7.5m
It’s a shame Krystian Bielik’s Arsenal career ended the way it did but it’s the right move for all parties involved.
While I would have liked Unai Emery to give the youngster a chance in the first-team, there are far too many options ahead of him in the pecking order. Also, keeping him at the club to play a majority of his football for the under-23s once again would have been unfair.
Last season, Bielik enjoyed a very successful loan spell with Charlton Athletic and he’s at the stage of his development where he should be playing first-team football at a regular basis. The Polish international is a talented player that deserves regular football and playing for a team like Derby County should help him improve overall. I hope he does well for the Rams this season.
4) Takuma Asano | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £900k
There’s not much to say when it comes to Takuma Asano.
The 24-year-old was a virtual unknown when he surprisingly joined the club back in 2016 from Japanese side Sanfreece Hiroshima. The versatile forward was never granted a work permit to play for Arsenal and was subjected to mediocre loans in Germany to Stuttgart and Hannover respectively. Considering he never played a game for the club and struggled in Germany, it’s a good thing Arsenal still managed to get a fee for him. It’s a shame the move never worked out well for Asano; I hope he does well in Serbia for Partizan.
5) Laurent Koscielny | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £4.5m
It’s a shame his Arsenal career ended the way it did.
I’ll admit, I’ve already been highly critical of the way in which Koscielny decided to leave the club but at the same time, it’s difficult talking about a situation when we currently don’t know all the facts.
From what we do know, Koscielny’s actions like his refusal to take part in the tour of the United States should be condemned. However, without knowing the details, there could actually be an important reason behind his decision that could sway certain people.
Regardless of his exit, Laurent Koscielny has been one of my favourite Arsenal players this decade and he has always given everything possible for the shirt. While some have foolishly downplayed his achievements because of his exit, it’s important to remember that this is a man that would take injections just to play for the team and has also played a crucial role in winning silverware and earning Champions League qualification.
Once again, it’s a shame his time at Arsenal ended the way it did but I still wish him the best of luck at Bordeaux.
6) Carl Jenkinson | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: £2m
The boyhood dream has come to an end.
It’s a shame Carl Jenkinson never properly made it at Arsenal but you can’t take away what he was able to achieve at the club. He played a part in ending the nine-year trophy drought in 2014, scored that iconic goal versus Norwich City and was even our longest-reigning player for a day.
Considering the club has struggled to offload the defender in the past, it’s a good thing we were able to offload him and free up some funds to be used elsewhere. I hope Jenkinson goes on to have a successful season at Nottingham Forest and perhaps even return to the Premier League in future.
7) Eddie Nketiah | My Rating: 10/10 | Reported Fee: Unknown. (loan fee)
In my opinion, Eddie Nketiah’s switch to Leeds United on a season-long loan deal will be a fantastic move for him.
After a promising pre-season, the 20-year-old is at the stage of his development where he should be playing first-team football. Following the departure of Kemar Roofe to Anderlecht, Nketiah is in the perfect position to play regular football at one of the Championship’s top clubs.
Also, I have no doubt that being coached by someone like Marcelo Bielsa will have a significant role in Nketiah’s development.
There’s no stopping the 20-year-old from flourishing this season and I could even see the forward help the club earn promotion to the Premier League.
8) Alex Iwobi | My Rating: 0/10 | Reported Fee: £35m
I’m typing this out following David Ornstein’s tweet about Alex Iwobi leaving the club to join Everton and I have absolutely no idea why the club decided to accept the fee.
Iwobi is Arsenal’s only viable threat on the left flank yet they decided to let him go for a fee below his value. To put this into perspective, we sold Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to Liverpool two years ago on deadline day for a similar fee but in a less inflated market.
Considering the timing of the deal, I, once again, have no idea why the club accepted the offer since they were unable to bring in a replacement and it also weakens the squad.
In my opinion, I don’t think the likes of Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith-Rowe, and Bukayo Saka are ready to play consistent first-team football. However, I hope I’m proven wrong about this. Instead, I imagine someone like Henrikh Mkhitaryan or Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will be fielded on the left flank which makes the overall side weaker.
I’m not sure if Alex Iwobi was desperate to leave the club but I really hope he does well at Everton and receives a lot more appreciation by their fans. He’s a talented player and from a neutral standpoint, I’m excited to see how he’ll link up with Moise Kean and Richarlison.